Categories Lighting

LED Lights Will Help Reduce Blackouts this Summer

Blackouts suck! It is one thing if a storm knocks out power when a tree blows over electricity cables. On the east coast, I have experienced power loss one or more times each winter at our home outside of Philadelphia, but the power is typically restored within a few hours or a day, subject to the level of damage.

Waiting to replace traditional commercial lights with energy-efficient LEDs may now become more of a collective call to action than an individual business decision based on Return on Investment. To date businesses have evaluated the savings opportunities with commercial LED lights relative to their own financial situation. Investing $100,000 may save $33,000 or more each year, which yields a favorable 33 percent or greater ROI and paybacks in three years or less. The disruptive LED technology has not been adopted in America at the levels of other countries in Europe and Asia, in part because our US cost of energy is less expensive than in many other countries.

Now, states like California are literally reaching capacity on their power supply relative to demand. Over the summer, when peak loads are at the highest, given the combination of air conditioning and the lights at homes and offices, the power situation is becoming dire. The summer afternoons create the most risk, because the electricity consumption is high at both homes and offices when some employees head to their residences where they proceed to turn on lights, air conditioning, TVs, etc. This added demand will shut down the grid for more than just the time it takes to chain saw a tree off of an east coast fallen power line. Some insiders predict that blackouts could last for multiple days or longer.

We collectively have an opportunity to accelerate energy intelligence to reduce the risk of blackouts by changing our lights. What is good for the grid is also good for each business and the planet.

With 1.341 lbs of CO2 emissions reduced for every kWh saved, changing the lights to LEDs never looked brighter and more responsible, when it comes to environmental stewardship.

For companies that do not have funds budgeted some LED lighting manufacturers, like Independence LED offer $0 upfront cost financing with cash-flow positive results from the start. The financing programs provide business owners with the opportunity to act now vs wait until the less efficient existing lights go out, or the building goes dark in a black out. Saving 50 percent or more on the energy consumption for each commercial building aggregates into a massive positive impact since over 20 percent of US building energy is typically used in the ceiling for illumination. Buildings overall account for about 40 percent of US energy consumption, so changing the lights makes sense on many levels.

Here is some support information from ABC News on March 19th.

“For the first time since January, rolling blackouts were ordered in California today, turning out the lights in approximately 500,000 homes, including some in Beverly Hills.

Officials at California’s Independent System Operator (ISO), which monitors the state’s power grid, called a Stage Three alert at midday because of increased temperatures, a higher power demand and a lack of electricity from the Northwest.

Further complicating the situation was the closure of two power plants.”

As the general election of the presidential race heats up, we’ll see if either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton address electricity demand and call for Americans to look up at their ceilings and seriously consider changing their lights to LEDs.

Categories Lighting

Standardization and Testing of LED Light Sources for the Sake of Interchangeability

The Zhaga consortium is a global cooperation among lighting companies. Their objective is to develop specifications that can enable interchangeability of LED light sources made by different manufacturers.

Zhaga intends to develop specifications for LED light sources that can be used globally in a wide range of general lighting applications. The consortium has adopted a collaborative standardization approach, and for the past three years it has been holding frequent meetings around the globe to facilitate member participation and rapid development of these specifications.

Each Zhaga specification is called a “Book”. The process of developing a book begins with one or more member companies proposing an LED light source, intended for a specific application or with particular features, that they would like to see standardized for interchangeability. Technical Input from member companies is then collected and merged into a common design proposal for interchangeability. From that point, requirements can begin to be written and prototypes are built as part of the specification development. The process ends with the approval of a new specification by the consortium members and each new specification is assigned a unique “Book” number (e.g. Book 2, Book 3, etc.). This whole process is repeated for each new LED light source that is proposed for interchangeability standardization.

For the purpose of Zhaga, an LED light source is always considered to be the combination of an LED module (or modules) and its associated LED driver (aka electronic control gear) and is referred to as an “LED light engine” (LLE). Depending on whether the LED driver shares a common housing with the module or if the driver is provided in a housing independent from the module, the LLE may be categorized as “Integrated ECG type” or “Separate ECG type” respectively. For this reason, Zhaga Books address the interchangeability of the complete LLE in a luminaire from a system approach.

To date Zhaga has developed seven specifications. LLE configurations include both integrated and separate LED driver designs. Additionally, some of the LLE configurations are intended to be interchangeable without the use of a tool “socketable type” and some are intended be factory installed and serviced by qualified personnel. These LLEs are suitable for a variety of applications including recessed downlight, track light, spotlight and high bay. This is already an impressive collection of Books developed over three years, but considering that LEDs are increasingly being used in new applications, there is room for many more specifications to be created. Companies interested in proposing new LLE types for Zhaga specification should consider joining the consortium and participate in the definition of new books.


Figure 1. Seven Books developed for product certification

Each Zhaga Book defines interface requirements for a different type of LED Light Engine (LLE). The books only define the minimum requirements that are necessary to achieve interchangeability. The specific LED chip or array used inside the light engine is not controlled by Zhaga specifications and can continue to evolve. This approach makes it easy for “Zhaga” LLEs to adopt increasingly better performing LED components while retaining interchangeability; a concept Zhaga refers to as “future-proof”.


Figure 2. Zhaga interfaces

Interchangeability of two different light engines in a luminaire implies that both light engines are compatible with the luminaire and provide comparable user experience. To that end, Zhaga has identified 5 interfaces that are sufficient to specify interchangeability requirements.

The first three interfaces (mechanical, electrical and thermal) are essential to determining an LLE can fit and operate properly in a given luminaire. The other two interfaces (photometric and control) are needed to help the users determine if two LLEs built by different manufacturers can deliver comparable lighting experience. Each interface is characterized by certain parameters that can be verified through testing.

For the most part Zhaga interfaces relate to intuitive and common parameters that are applicable to conventional lighting products. The mechanical interface may specify dimensions or fit codes that can be verified using measuring instruments or gauges. The electrical and control interfaces are characterized by operating voltage, power ratings and dimming technology that can be verified using standard electrical laboratory instruments.

The photometric and thermal interfaces on the other end involve some unique features and require specialized testing (instrumentation, environment and fixtures). This is partly due to the fact that photometric performance of LEDs requires tight thermal controls.


Figure 3. Luminance picture illustrating how a rectangular light emitting surface can be divided into eight segments for analysis.

The photometric interface is typically specified by light intensity (luminous flux) and color (CCT, CRI) parameters as measured under specific thermal operating conditions. Depending on the book, the photometric interface may also involve parameters to help specify luminaire optics that can be used in combination with a light engine. These may include the position, dimension and location of the light emitting surface, or near field luminance properties as measured by a CCD camera.

The thermal interface is based on model which assumes that the bulk (~ 90 percent) of the heat generated by a Zhaga LLE is dissipated across a surface designed to be in contact with an external heatsink. This portion of the total thermal power (Pth) dissipated by the LLE is referred to as thermal power rear (Pth, rear) and is measured using a heat transducer equipment specially designed for this purpose.

Zhaga administers a testing and logo program that allows members to identify and promote products that comply with the specifications. These products are registered in the Zhaga on-line product directory and are eligible to bear the Zhaga logo.

Zhaga will certify products that have been tested by an Authorized Test Lab and have been determined to be compliant with the requirements of related Zhaga Book. Authorized Test labs are testing companies that are members of the Consortium that have met objective criteria to demonstrate they can perform all the tests in a Zhaga book.

UL is among the first test labs to become authorized to perform certification testing for Zhaga books.  UL currently offers global capability, expertise, evaluations and compliance testing services to assist companies interested in developing Zhaga light engines, luminaires and components. Zhaga testing is available separately or as a bundle along with other UL lighting industry services such as Energy Star, Photometric performance testing and/ or Safety Certification (per US, Canada and IEC standards).

Safety is evolving. So is UL. With innovations that have established a benchmark of trust worldwide for more than 118 years, UL looks forward to advancing its ongoing efforts to more safely and efficiently deliver LED interchangeable products to the marketplace. Visit us on the web, www.ul.comzhaga.

Categories Lighting

High Marks for High School Lighting

With over 350 schools, covering more than 24 million square feet, the Clark County School District (CCSD) is the fifth largest and fastest growing school district in the US. CCSD’s Facilities Division is one of the most comprehensive, sophisticated, and sustainable design-oriented districts in the country. They are in the process of designing and building over 100 new schools to meet the tremendous growth of the greater Las Vegas metro area. All of the new schools will be LEED Gold Certified.

Ed W. Clark High School – Las Vegas, NV
In addition to this new construction, the district is implementing extensive renovation and modernization at existing facilities such as Ed W. Clark High School. Built in 1964, the high school serves grades 9-12 and approximately 2,070 students. Steve Johnston, CCSD design manager for the Clark High School modernization project, is overseeing the ongoing $30 million renovation that includes HVAC and plumbing upgrades, improvements to the locker rooms, food service kitchen, science labs, the fire/sprinkler system, and technology advances such as LAN and classroom projector installations, as well as daylighting in the student activity center. Additionally, because of a federal grant, Johnston looked to upgrade the inadequate and outdated exterior lighting system.

Working with Johnston on this renovation was Jeff Iverson from TJK Consulting Engineers. Wanting to reduce energy consumption and costs Johnston and Iverson looked into LED luminaires and did a comparison with other lighting technology – there’s no comparison regarding the efficiency or quality of illumination. Previously, the school had 91, 70-watt high intensity discharge fixtures installed around the school in overhangs and doorways. In a one-for-one replacement, the school now has 91, 23.1-watt LED canopy and wall-mounted exterior luminaires, almost a full replacement of exterior luminaires on the school grounds. This LED installation is reducing the school district’s energy consumption by 75-percent over the incumbent fixtures.

“We sought to install a one-for-one replacement that would increase visibility and outlast the old HID lighting that was costly to maintain. We’re expecting to save a lot of time and expense in maintenance,” said Johnston.

Providing a safely illuminated campus during evening hours was also an important reason for selecting new lighting. Johnston and his colleagues are very pleased with the vastly improved lighting quality and uniform lighting performance from the LED luminaires.

Reduced luminaire maintenance is a benefit welcomed by Jack Viscosi, Clark County School District electrical/mechanical repair coordinator, who’s responsible for the electrical maintenance at Clark High School. LED luminaires are designed to provide a virtually maintenance-free operation for more than 15 years in the harshest outdoor environments while HID last only two to three years.

This is the school district’s first LED luminaire installation but it won’t be the last. A commitment to reducing energy consumption and environmental stewardship will help facilitate additional sustainable projects as funds become available.

The $30 million renovation is funded largely through a 1998 voter approved bond fund, and federal grants specifically for the lighting upgrade as well as a solar thermal grant for the installation of an adsorption chiller in the central plant that controls the school’s cooling.

According to the US Department of Energy, energy-efficient renovations—replacement of inefficient boilers, lighting, and other systems—could reduce school energy costs by 30 percent. This is money that could be spent on hiring new teachers and purchasing textbooks, computers, and other instructional materials.

Categories Lighting

Connect, Protect and Control Your LED Lighting

Thus far in this SSL Blog series, we covered the LED; interconnect of the Chip on Board LED device within a luminaire utilizing a TE Connectivity (TE) scalable or Zhaga compliant socket; and the various device-level interconnects commonly used in lighting applications.  Today, I would like to discuss additional product aspects for consideration in regards to control, circuit protection and power aspects of SSL luminaires.

Control capabilities are increasingly more prevalent within the macro trends of energy efficient and intelligent buildings.  Lighting is a key focus of energy efficiency efforts within a building in that they consume roughly 30 percent of the building’s power consumption. There are significant gains that can be realized by controlling light levels. Adding intelligence to lighting is a key element to a comprehensive building plan to conserve energy.

Traditionally, the most practical and cost effective lighting control is the common wall switch. Its fault is that incorporates a human element and we all know how variable this element can be. To remove the human from the control equation, building intelligence needed to evolve to a sense, communicate and control environment via available technology. A simple implementation such as installing an occupancy sensor that senses movement in the room and directly controls a light fixture can offer immediate energy savings. Tie this sensor into a network of other occupancy sensors as well as daylight and ambient light sensors, and suddenly the building is “intelligently” able to react to its occupants and environment.

This effect of increasing levels of control required within building lighting systems ripples through to new requirements for components used within the systems.  For example, TE’s well established RT series relays have been on the market for years but needed to be further refined to meet the increasing demands of switching the more energy efficient fluorescent and SSL fixtures coming to market.  The high input current spikes characteristic of today’s drivers drove a radically new switching technology that was incorporated into TE’s RTX relay and new contact structure built into the RT1 Inrush Power relay.

The electronification of lighting and related controls also increased susceptibility to potentially damaging surges caused by ‘dirty power’ and / or lightning. While traditional incandescent lamps were relatively immune to this, SSL luminaires require some level of circuit protection to protect the end product from power fluctuations and surges.  A fuse offers some level of protection. However, fuses are typically “once & done” devices that render the fixture inoperable after an event. A better solution is a self-resetting device such as TE’s 2Pro AC device. The 2Pro AC device offers designers an integrated, self-resetting device that protects sensitive downstream electronics against damage from overcurrent and overvoltage events. By combining a PPTC (polymeric positive temperature coefficient) device and a thermally enhanced MOV (metal-oxide varistor) into one package, a more robust and more easily integrated level of protection can be included into lighting control products.

Another less often discussed topic within controls is conducted emissions and susceptibility. With the increasing use of microprocessors throughout lighting control systems, electrically noisy power systems can wreak havoc on a control network. Increasing use of power line (data/broadband) communication within a building can further fuel a noisy power environment for building controls. Conversely, particularly noisy control devices such as drivers and power supplies that run at higher frequencies and harmonics can often induce noise into the building power system and affect other electronic devices. The latter is especially weighty in hospital and other medical environments where such noise could have catastrophic results given the right conditions. Conducted emission filters such as TE’s FB & VB series are increasingly used in these applications to both protect devices from incoming conducted RFI and likewise limit any outgoing emissions on the power lines.

There’s no doubt the lighting environment is changing. This is visually evident throughout the world. In a less obvious manner, the environment is changing fixture and system designs and is spawning a host of new supporting products. The end result must be to ensure that the consumer gets the best, most controllable light possible that meets the adage, “The best light is the one you don’t notice”.

I’ve covered a few new topics above that are changing the face of lighting and lighting controls. I’m interested in hearing about other challenges and issues you’re seeing. If you have a minute, send me a note with your thoughts and comments. Please send me an email at

Categories Lighting

Let There Be (LED) Light

As purveyors of nascent yet demonstrably helpful technology, those of us that sell LED lighting solutions have a responsibility to act as an ambassador to the field. LED technology, technology about which we obviously care strongly, is clearly making inroads with the public, but it has yet to reach true universal adoption. The reasons for this are many in number and can be debated elsewhere, but the fact is that there is a lot of misinformation about LED among the public, a fact that’s harmful to the industry.

As proponents of LED, that’s why we have an obligation to provide the kind of products and insight into the technology to ensure that we’re presenting it in its best light, making obvious its advantages not just because it personally benefits us, but also because it’s a technology that is objectively both cost- and energy-saving.

As the owner of an LED Source franchise, my job is to demonstrate the many advantages of LED to businesses interested in retrofitting their existing lighting, correcting falsehoods about it along the way. This misinformation has lead to a few common questions I get from clients, questions I’m more than happy to answer but that often have unspoken assumptions built-in.

When will LED pay off for me?
This question, in its many forms, is the most common one I receive and for good reason: businesses most often approach me for the advertised financial benefits of switching to LED lighting. The question behind this question, I feel, is that most people believe that LED lighting will take a long time to pay off. This could not be further from the truth; most clients, I’ve found, notice that their solutions pay for themselves in as little as two years, with energy bill savings apparent soon after the installation.

How expensive are LED solutions?
Like the previous question, this one touches on the finances involved in LED lighting use. Because LED is still considered state-of-the-art, it is often thought that the technology is expensive right out of the gate. Beyond the fact that LED prices have dropped precipitously since the technology first started to hit the shelves, grants and rebates are made available on a state-to-state basis that can help offset the cost of LED technologies. With bulbs as cheap as $20 that save $10 a year over their incandescent counterparts and last for years, combined with incentives from the government and utility companies, this myth is pretty easily put to bed.

Since LED technology is so new, all providers are the same, right?
This question is predicated on the belief that new technology is not easily mass-produced by less credible sources. This, as we well know, is false. Cheap wholesale LED lighting from overseas is more prone to failure, lacks the substantial warranty provided by respected LED providers and simply doesn’t compare to technology provided by authoritative industry leaders. The old chestnut about getting what you pay for definitely holds true in this case.

As ambassadors to the industry, disabusing would-be LED users of myths and fallacies pertaining to the technology does more than sell them a product. By getting rid of those notions in individuals, the facts that foster our passion for the technology spread, helping both the industry and those who would most benefit from LED lighting. That’s good for business, and it’s good for the world at large.

Categories Lighting

What About “Smarter” LED Lighting?

The typical image of “Smart” lighting is an LED Lamp or Luminaire connected wirelessly and controlled via a mobile device to turn on and off, set dimming level and in some cases, change the color. If we look at the recent announcements from Light+Building in Germany last month, the discussion on Smart Lighting tends to be dominated by the choice of wireless interface: ZigBee Lightlink, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or some proprietary network approach and the merits or limitations of having to install a bridge to connect your home network. For a comparison of different networking approaches, Insteon has published a white paper.

Traditionally the world of controls and light sources has been separated.  Simple residential dimmer switches, occupancy or vacancy sensors were wired to control the delivery of AC power to the load.  Smart lighting has now merged controls into the light source.  With the addition of ambient light, proximity, and passive-IR sensors, these smart lighting solutions can become even smarter.  For example integrating a photo sensor inside a lamp with some intelligence allows occupancy detection and ambient light monitoring so that when you walk into your house or open a closet the light will immediately turn on if insufficient ambient light is not available.  Smart LED light bulbs that have this function are already on the market from companies such as Ohyama Lighting. Beyond motion based control, perhaps a more useful autonomous smart light is one that has vacancy control.  This may require the integration of Passive IR sensors, but once a light is turned on, if a room becomes un-occupied, it will automatically turn off after an appropriate delay. For a parent with teenagers, this could be a real energy saver.

By integrating ambient light and/or Passive IR sensors, self-directed smart lighting solutions offer an additional path to smarter lighting systems especially in residential spaces where controls are less commonly found.  In commercial applications, more sophisticated variations of these control concepts are being mandated.  In January 2014, California revised their Title 24 Building codes and added in a newer series of light control requirements.  In new and remodeled buildings, corridors, stairwells and even library stacks must incorporate ‘bi-level’ occupancy control when the space is un-occupied to ensure a minimal level of light for safety while still capturing energy savings.

Combining sensors with wireless control within an LED light source/luminaire offers a path to improving local lighting control based on the lighting application environment and enables “smarter” LED lighting compared to the alternative of the classical lighting controls framework.  Hubbell Lighting’s Kim Light Group recently introduced an interesting take on smart lighting with a new family of outdoor in-grade architectural LED spot lights controlled by Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).  Currently, when reviewing the choices of smart lighting networking options, BLE does not necessarily jump to the forefront.  In this case, it presents an interesting use case as the main purpose of making the fixture wireless was not day-to-day operation, but more system configuration and provisioning used to aim the light and set the dimming level after installation to appropriately light the scene.  Moreover since this is an outdoor application, BLE is readily available with most smartphones, has good range and can be paired to the light for configuration but does not need to be connected to a network for ongoing operation.  Once programmed, the light stores the desired light output level and position state but it can be reprogrammed if needs change.

The same approach could be used for configuring new lights and luminaries to set, for example, the appropriate dimming level for a bi-level motion sensor in an office corridor or the amount of time to keep on a bedroom light equipped with a vacancy sensor. As the industry transitions from simple LED bulb replacements to “smarter” LED Lighting solutions, we can expect to see continued innovation in both autonomous lighting controls that can provide light when you need it without reaching for a switch and still deliver minimal energy usage.

Categories Lighting

UL Lighting Standards Update

UL Standards encompass UL’s extensive safety research, scientific expertise and uncompromising focus on quality. With over a century of experience and the development of more than 1,000 Standards, UL continues to break new ground in its mission to help create a safer, more sustainable world. The below standards update for the lighting industry was originally published in UL’s Lumen Insights Newsletter, Year-end edition.

UL 1598 – Luminaires (Tri-national standard)

  • Next revision cycle started, which will be a 2-year cycle. Call for Proposals due date was June 22, 2013. The UL proposals were prepared and sent on September 22, 2013 to CSA (the Publication Coordinator) for Technical Harmonization Committee review.

UL 1598C – Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Retrofit Luminaire Conversion Kits

  • Proposed 1st edition went out for ballot on March 15, 2013. The proposal achieved consensus and a STP meeting was held on July 17, 2013 to discuss the comments received. Responses have been posted and revisions were proposed in a recirculation Work Area in CSDS on November 8, 2013 with a due date of December 9, 2013.

UL 1993 – Self- ballasted Lamps and Lamp Adapters (Tri-national standard)

  • Next revision cycle started. Call for Proposals were due on September 22, 2013. The proposals are being prepared for Technical Harmonization Committee review.

UL 8750 – Light Emitting Diode (LED) Equipment For Use In Lighting Products

  • Proposal went out for ballot on September 21, 2012 and also discussed at November 2012 STP meeting. The proposal related to adding requirements for dimmable LED drivers for use with solid-state dimming controls electrically wired in series with the mains supply. The proposal went out for recirculation on May 31, 2013. The revisions were published on September 19, 2013.
  • Multiple proposals went out for preliminary review on October 24, 2012. These proposals were discussed at the November 2012 STP meeting. Some of the proposals were reworked and went out for ballot on June 7, 2013. The remaining topics will proceed separately.Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. Responses have been posted and revisions were proposed in a CSDS recirculation Work Area on October 11, 2013 with a due date of November 11, 2013.
  • Multiple proposals went out for preliminary review on October 14, 2013 with a due date of November 8, 2013. These proposals will also be discussed at the November 2013 STP meeting. Link to the summary of topics:
  • STP meeting is scheduled for November 19-20, 2013 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Deerfield, IL.

UL 8752 / ULC-S8752 – Organic Light Emitting Diode (LED) Panels

  • Multiple proposals went out for preliminary review on May 28, 2013 and for ballot on July 12, 2013. The revisions were published on September 30, 2013. This is a joint UL/ULC Standard.

UL 8753 / ULC-S8753 – Standard for Field-Replaceable Light Emitting Diode (LED) Light Engines

  • The 1st edition of the joint UL/ULC Standard for Field-Replaceable Light Emitting Diode (LED) Light Engines, UL 8753 / ULC-S8753, was published on July 31, 2013. There is no current UL standards activity.

UL 8754 / ULC-S8754 – Holders, Bases, and Connectors for Solid-State (LED) Light Engines and Arrays

  • The 1st edition of the joint UL/ULC Standard for Holders, Bases, and Connectors for Solid-State (LED) Light Engines and Arrays, UL 8754 /ULC-S8754, was published on July 31, 2013. There is no current UL Standards activity.

UL 935, UL 1029, UL 542 – Ballasts (Tri-national Standard)

  • The draft of Part 1 of the proposed Standard, covering general construction and test requirements is being reviewed by the CANENA Harmonization Committee (THC34/SC34C) and being prepared for preliminary review.
  • The Part 2 documents which will include specific requirement for the various product types still need to be developed.

UL 935 (current UL Standard, 10th edition)

  • Proposal went out for preliminary review on May 29, 2013 related to the addition of requirements for ballasts intended to be dimmed using solid-state dimming controls electrically wired in series with the mains supply. Another proposal went out for preliminary review on July 26, 2013 related to revising the arcing test method in Section 30. These proposals went out for ballot on October 18, 2013 with a due date of December 2, 2013.

UL 153 – Portable Electric Luminaires

  • Proposal went out for preliminary review on October 4, 2013. The proposal was related to a revision for Paragraph 24.1, exception No. 3 and to add the definition of “LVLE” circuit. The proposal will be issued for ballot on November 15, 2013 with a due date of December 16, 2013.

UL 1786 – Direct Plug-In Nightlights (Bi-national Standard)

  • Next revision cycle started. Multiple proposals went out for preliminary review on October 17, 2013 with a due date of November 7, 2013. Link to the summary of topics:

UL 496 – Lampholders (Bi-national standard)

  • Multiple proposals went out for ballot on February 24, 2012 and recirculation on March 15, 2013. Link to the summary of topics: The proposals are being prepared for publication in the Standard. The revisions were published on November 25, 2013.

UL 1088 – Temporary Lighting Strings

  • Proposal went out for preliminary review on September 19, 2013. The proposal was to allow for the use of energy efficient light sources in temporary lighting strings. The proposal will be issued for ballot on November 1, 2013 with a due date of December 16, 2013.

UL 2108 – Low Voltage Lighting Systems

  • Multiple proposals went out for preliminary review on August 27, 2013. The proposals went out for ballot on October 4, 2013 with a due date of November 18, 2013. Link to the summary of topics:

UL 1573 – Stage and Studio Luminaires and Connector Strips

  • Proposal went out for preliminary review on September 13, 2013. The proposal went out for ballot on October 18, 2013 with a due date of November 18, 2013. The proposal was to add requirements of 2014 NFPA 70 Section 520.68 (A)(3) to UL 1573.

UL 1838 – Low Voltage Landscape Lighting Systems

  • Multiple proposals went out for preliminary review on September 20, 2013. Link to the summary of topics: The proposals will go out for ballot on November 8, 2013 with a due date of December 23, 2013.

UL 924 – Emergency Lighting and Power Equipment

  • Multiple proposals went out for preliminary review on April 24, 2013. The proposals went out for ballot on August 16, 2013 with a due date extended to October 30, 2013. Link to the summary of topics:
  • Proposal went out for preliminary review on September 11, 2013. The proposal went out for ballot on October 18, 2013 with a due date of November 18, 2013. The proposal is to delete SH3.2 (using photometric data to show conformance)

UL 676 – Underwater Luminaires and Submersible Junction Boxes

  • Proposal went out for ballot on July 12, 2013 and recirculation on September 30, 2013. The proposal was related to non-metallic and isolated, low voltage luminaires. The proposal is being prepared for publication.

UL 48 – Electric Signs

  • Proposal went out for preliminary review on December 24, 2012. The proposal was related to two topics: (1) Clarification of drain opening requirements and (2) Grounding and Bonding Marking. The next step is for the proposal to go out for ballot.

UL 48B – Changing Message Signs and Displays

  • UL is currently developing proposed 1st edition for UL48B.

UL 879 – Electric Sign Components

  • Call for Proposals went out on October 14, 2013 with new proposals due November 22, 2013.
Categories Lighting

LEDs: The Lighting Renaissance

If you haven’t noticed by now, we’re seeing a lighting renaissance taking place that is truly astounding and which historically has only occurred a few times in the history of mankind. The migration from one predominate light source (incandescent) to another (LED) is occurring literally right in front of our eyes. Most astoundingly is the rapid emergence of lighting-grade LED technology that really only started in earnest less than 10 years ago.  As one might expect with a new lighting technology and as can be readily observed in past history, the transition isn’t without some growing pains.

Driven by the need to conserve energy in an environment of a growing and developing populace, LED technology and its benefits are quickly becoming apparent to designers, manufacturers and consumers.  Market pull for LED-based products is generated by the simple fact that that we can simply no longer continue to expend 18 percent of our global energy production on lighting alone nor can we continue to burn through the extra 1,800 million barrels of oil needed for the less efficient light sources that are well established in the marketplace.

As with any new technology, there is a period where designers and users need to figure out what to do with it and how to utilize it in saleable products. Lighting-grade LEDs are no different. Typically, the first devices are typically pretty crude yet functional to get people thinking about the possibilities of the new technology. As the technology develops and designers gain experience with it, more elegant solutions begin to emerge that start to truly take advantage of the technology and its capabilities. One doesn’t have to look too far to see that we’re well into the “elegant” phase of LED lighting and that designers are starting to have fun with the technology!

Interestingly, with any new technology, what follows or what progresses in a lagged-parallel fashion is an entire infrastructure of supporting products. To create truly innovative designs, an entire class of various supporting products need to develop around it to make it easier to integrate and use. New heat sink technologies, novel LED packages, innovative optics, unique interconnect solutions start to emerge as the basic LED and its applications evolve. This further feeds LED fixture innovation and serves to create pull to ever-improve these supporting products.

Indeed, designers of the most efficient, manufacturable and easily used designs embrace a holistic approach to design that considers and integrates all key elements of a fixture in parallel. Interconnects in particular are usually the last thing to get considered in these new designs however, they form an integral and key part of the entire system. Without the ability to provide power to the LED system and distribute it effectively and easily, even the most unique, innovative LED lighting fixture is simply another object d’art.

From an interconnect standpoint, there are a wide and sometimes dizzying array of options available to the designer. Options are always good and there are a number of unique, SSL-targeted connector products that are optimized for different applications within a lighting system. Next month we’ll start to explore these options starting with the LED itself.

Categories Lighting

Lighting the Way to a More Innovative Future

Whether we realize it or not, lighting touches every part of our world, from our homes and computer screens to commercial office buildings and highways. It does more than just brighten our lives – it impacts learning, the environment and even our mood.

Everyone reading this knows that the numerous breakthroughs in LED architectures, advanced materials, and innovative fixtures over the past decade have contributed to making LED the de facto lighting standard around the world. When compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, the state-of-the-art LED bulbs last up to 40x longer, are 10x more efficient, and reduce greenhouse gases by as much as 90 percent. According to Radiant Insights, the LED market is anticipated to grow 45 percent annually through 2020, making it a $63.1 billion industry and one of the fastest growing electronic device markets. This year we have seen the explosive growth of “Smart Lighting,” which combines LED fixtures with sensors to collect data and use that intelligence to control when, where, and how much light you want to deploy.

Smart and efficient lighting does not stop at LEDs. OLED lighting technology is an emerging new product category and is providing manufacturers and application developers a unique option to differentiate and innovate. According to Digital Trends, because of their nature, OLEDs are extremely thin, small and remarkably flexible. They are being used in some of today’s most cutting-edge products, from consumer, to automotive, to architectural applications. Many analysts, including IDTechEx, predict that the OLED market will continue in a development stage until 2020, at which point mass-market adoption is expected. Additionally, based on the current level of activity with Pixelligent’s global customers, we expect the number of potential OLED lighting applications to accelerate over the next three to five years.

What is driving the lighting industry to evolve its technology?
Consumers’ increased desires for innovative and connected products are driving manufacturers to pioneer new lighting solutions. Global manufacturers, such as LG Display, Konica Minolta, Osram Opto OLED and OledWorks are a few of the recognized leaders driving OLED lighting applications for a new generation of highly efficient and higher-quality lighting devices.

Pixelligent has taken a leadership position in this market, supporting innovation in this rapidly emerging marketplace through leading edge, high-index nanomaterials and advanced manufacturing solutions. The PixClearProcess is the key to delivering the efficiency that dramatically improves light extraction and overall performance in terms of light quality. 

Key Markets and The Growth Potential for OLED
It is expected that the automotive, architectural lighting, and new building- construction markets are going to be the early adopters for OLED lighting.  Delivering significant wins in these key markets will drive down the costs of OLED lighting panels, which will drive broader market adoption over a diverse set of applications, ultimately finding its way to the mass consumer markets by around 2022. The first two most critical markets that will enable this are:

  • Automotive – The automotive industry is one of the earliest adopters and biggest drivers of lighting technology.  Audi has been the leader in implementing new lighting technology to differentiate its autos and is the first automaker to begin using OLED lighting in its vehicles. Check out the tail lights on the Audi E-tron SUV, which are flexible OLEDs that create a 3D structure. 
  • Buildings and Construction – Starting in 2017, the building and construction market is expected to begin designing in-OLED lighting to replace the inefficient and low quality fluorescent lighting that is present in most buildings today. OLED lighting is not only significantly more efficient, but also delivers visibly higher-quality lighting.

What is driving this change in these industry and others? Leading advanced materials and device companies, which are at the forefront of delivering this next generation of highly efficient and higher quality OLED lighting to the market. Stay tuned for my next blog for a deeper dive into the manufacturing strategies and the key manufacturers in these markets to learn how they are impacting advanced lighting technologies.

Categories Lighting

Lighting and Human Health

According to the US Census Bureau, as of April 1, 2010, there are 40.3 million people who were 65 and older in the United States, accounting for 13 percent of the total population; this number will more than double to more than 88 million by 2050. Many industries, organizations and communities are planning for the graying of America, one being long-term care living facilities where, according to the National Center for Assisted Living, as of 2008, more than 900,000 people nationwide live in assisted living settings.

Making these facilities welcoming, intuitive to older adults’ needs and even redesigning the lighting greatly affects this populations’ quality of life.

Importance of Correct Lighting
Innovative lighting designs and advanced technologies, including LEDs, photosensors and occupancy sensors, can help seniors in long-term care facilities maintain independence and be more comfortable.

It has long been understood that poor lighting is not only associated with an adverse environment, as we all relate to the mental image of the “dark dungeon” or “dimly lit alley,” but that there is a cause and effect relationship with human health. The most prominent example is season affective disorder syndrome, or SADS, which is a winter-season depression that effects sensitive individuals in the higher latitudes where the day/night cycle is more extreme, right up to the Arctic or Antarctic circles, where there will be winter days when the sun will literally fail to rise fully above the horizon. Experimentation with “light therapy” proved effective in extreme cases, adding momentum to a new realm of studies of the interaction between light and humans.

According to a paper by the Center for Health Design, “The Impact of Light on Outcomes in Healthcare Settings,” light impacts human health and performance by four main mechanisms:

  • Enabling performance of visual tasks
  • Controlling the body’s circadian system
  • Affecting mood and perception
  • Facilitating direct absorption for critical chemical reactions within the body

As people age, their eyes also undergo changes. The lens and cornea begin to yellow and darken, and the pupils shrink in size. The aging eye also changes to have a high degree of light scatter as cataracts form, and the field of vision becomes limited. For this reason the colors that are chosen for the elderly should remove any yellowing and brightness since the eyes of a 60-year-old can only filter a third of someone age 20.

Additionally, elderly persons may have difficulty distinguishing between colors. They need three times the amount of light to see, but are sensitive to glare. Colors such as red, green, yellow or blue will appear muted to the elderly eye.

Light and Sleep Cycles
Because of changes in the transparency of the eye’s lens, the elderly are especially susceptible to sleep disturbances as the amount of circadian light received through the eye is diminished. Disease-specific biological changes, as experienced with Alzheimer’s and dementia, contribute to sleep disruption and are experienced as difficulty falling asleep, frequent awakenings, decrease in slow-wave and REM cycles, shorter duration of sleep and frequent daytime napping.

Light serves to synchronize the human body bio-chemical clock. For instance, it has been found that blue light (465 nm wavelength) can reduce the melatonin in our blood stream, making us more alert – this is what sunlight produces from morning until afternoon. However, as the day progresses, the intensity of the blue-spectrum in sunlight reduces while there is an increase in reds and purples, thus triggering the increase in melatonin that enables sleep and body repair. The effect of light on melatonin, alertness and cognitive performance is blue-shifted – a lamp with a correlated color temperature of 6,500 K (cold light) induces greater melatonin suppression and an enhanced alerting effect than does a lamp with a CCT of 3,000 K (warm light).

Light directly influences the amount of melatonin, and other related hormones, that a person’s brain produces, which indirectly affects alertness. With artificially driven imbalances, it’s not just sleep that is affected; almost our entire metabolism, including immune responses, is regulated in this way, and there is the potential for more serious health effects. Conversely, supplemental melatonin has been indicated with positive health effects including slowing down aging processes, and potentially slowing or reversing brain-involved conditions, including Alzheimer’s.

Hard-to-reach lighting controls and bright, glaring room lights add to the difficulty seniors have getting up in the middle of the night. Additionally, nurses may need to check residents several times at night and often disrupt their sleep and comfort by repeatedly turning on the room lights.

Poor lighting can accentuate existing vision problems and reading difficulties among the elderly, it can cause depression and disrupt sleep cycles. However, improving long-term care facilities’ lighting is documented to improve residents’ health. These studies have shown that the quality and type of lighting can have a significant impact on our health and comfort, particularly for anybody who spends long periods in artificially lit buildings, such as the elderly and the infirm.